Peer involvement is beneficial for:

  • Individual peer workers
  • Services
  • Policymakers
  • Wider society.

“Many fear that drug user organising will lead to increased conflict and confrontation between services and their service users.  However, there may be benefits for both parties in a more mature engagement.  Of course, to achieve these benefits both drug users and drugs professionals need to be willing to explore, debate, and probably redefine their working relationships.  This is part of the journey towards a more open and effective engagement between drug users and their service providers.”

Mat Southwell in A Guide to Involving & Empowering Drug Users, National Treatment Agency, UK





By working with peers, services and service organisations increase their credibility and the range of activities. Peer work goes beyond the traditional client-professional model and opens up opportunities to provide additional and alternative ways of service provision and support.  Within organisations, having peer workers can help other workers overcome their prejudices and change their perceptions about clients’ abilities and backgrounds.





Policies can improve if communities are involved in the design. Community involvement is a cornerstone of accountability and effective policy.
Engagement of communities directly impacted upon by proposed and current policies provides valuable insight for policy decisions and creates opportunities for better understanding and commitment from community members.

Although no easy task for policymakers - there are many voices to be heard and many interests to be balanced - meaningful involvement is an essential and key principle in policy development.  Community involvement is also very useful to monitor, adjust and to refine policies.  Furthermore, it opens up a means to check whether policies actually deliver what they intended to do.




Wider society

Peer involvement sends a clear message to society that communities and their members are genuinely appreciated and valued: that such involvement offers considerable help to their colleagues, by contributing to services.  The result is that a group that previously had no voice can now claim their rights, thereby mobilising people into a potent political force for health and human rights advocacy.